Bergesen's Leg Bruised, Not Broken, By Liner

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Notebook

Rookie Starter Put On Dl

Ray, Mickolio Join Roster

August 01, 2009|By Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec | Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec,dan.connolly@baltsun.com

Per doctors' orders, Orioles rookie starting pitcher Brad Bergesen stayed away from Camden Yards on Friday, keeping his bruised leg elevated at home.

He will also be away from the mound for a couple of weeks after being placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday, one day after a line drive from the Kansas City Royals' Billy Butler hit him squarely on the shin in the seventh inning. Bergesen, who is 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA and has emerged as the club's best starter, does not appear to have a hairline fracture. He was examined again Friday morning and should be able to start throwing in about a week, assuming swelling in the leg subsides, Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.

"The good news is it's not broken. There is no fracture, there is nothing there. But he is going to be out," Trembley said. "We're very fortunate we're only losing him for a short time, not a season-ending injury. That would be a tough one to swallow."

Butler's liner was the third out of the seventh inning, and Bergesen hobbled to the dugout before collapsing in the tunnel.

"I was holding his shoulders down because the kid was in so much pain," Trembley said. "He just kept telling me, 'Dave, I heard it crack. I know it's broke.' And that just made me sick. It made me absolutely sick. And I'm so thankful that's not the case."

Next man up

The last time Jim Johnson was a designated closer he had recently made his high school varsity team and would "just come in and finish the game."

Things are obviously more complicated now, but Johnson is the Orioles' new closer with Thursday's trade of George Sherrill to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"It's by default," said Johnson, who has a 3.17 ERA in 42 appearances this season, and three career saves on his resume. "It was George's spot and now George is gone, so I'm just going to have to fill his spot."

Trembley described Johnson as the next "logical guy" to take over the closer's role.

"He likes to compete, one," Trembley said. "Two, you see how he bounces back when he gave up the home run the other day; he's probably going to come back a little stronger. His makeup is a plus. He'll go at you. He's not timid."

Johnson said he spoke to Sherrill and Danys Baez, about the challenges that come with holding the closer role.

"It's very similar to pitching in the eighth inning," Johnson said. "It's a pivotal time of the game. It's the time I want to be out there."

Mora out of the lineup

For the second consecutive game, third baseman Melvin Mora was replaced in the starting lineup by Ty Wigginton. Mora is 3-for-22 in his past six starts and 1-for-11 on the homestand. Wigginton is 3-for-11 on the homestand, including two hits Thursday. He was 0-for-3 on Friday.

"If guys hit, they'll play," Trembley said. "Or it makes guys easier for me to [start] if they hit. Wigginton's been a pretty good team guy. I thought he was swinging the bat pretty well [Thursday], so let's put him back out there [Friday] and see what he can do."

Trembley didn't post the lineup until he informed Mora of the decision. He said it's possible Wigginton will play more often at third in the next two months.

Wigginton entered the night 4-for-10 against Friday's starter John Smoltz; Mora was 1-for-4, a double July 26.

"[Trembley] told me they are going to put Wigginton in to play, he has good numbers [against Smoltz]," Mora said. "In Boston, I hit a double against the wall the first time I faced Smoltz. So I don't know."

Ray returns

Reliever Chris Ray, who went on the disabled list July 6 with right biceps tendinitis, was recalled from a rehabilitation assignment Friday.

"I really haven't been feeling like this since pre-injury," Ray said. "So it's a really good feeling."

Ray missed all of 2008 after Tommy John elbow reconstruction the previous season. He struggled in his return this year, going 0-1 with a 9.28 ERA in 23 games.

"It's not what I had pictured this season going like," he said. "But you can't let the year beat you. Every time I come back here, I try to make a clean slate and try to get on a roll and hopefully finish the season on a good note."

Surgery next for Hill?

Orioles starter Rich Hill is leaning toward having season-ending surgery to repair a displaced labrum in his left shoulder. Hill, who is planning on getting a second opinion, said Wednesday's arthrogram confirmed there is "more of a tear than what was there prior."

"It is just something that needs to be taken care of," Hill said. "Right now, for myself to prolong my career, and for the Orioles, I think getting it fixed is the best way to go. But that's just what I'm thinking right now."

Around the horn

Kam Mickolio was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to take Sherrill's spot on the roster. ... Sherrill pitched one scoreless inning, allowing no hits in his Dodgers debut Friday night. ... Reliever Dennis Sarfate's rehab stint at Triple-A Norfolk has been extended five more appearances, starting Monday and scheduled through Aug. 13. ... Right-handed pitcher Koji Uehara could start a throwing program when the team returns from its next road trip, which starts Monday. ... Right-handed pitcher Radhames Liz was promoted from Double-A Bowie to Norfolk.

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